Just Finish it! Attic and Basement Finishing

Is your family outgrowing your home? Do you want more living space but selling and buying a larger house is out of the question? A good solution might be right under your nose, or roof that is.

In multi-level houses, the main floor tends to be the most utilized and gets the most attention. Typically, this is where the primary entrance, living room, and kitchen are located. While this might continue to be the family hub, there could be a gold mine of extra space potential in either an unfinished attic or basement. Before uprooting or considering a costly home addition, it might be worth taking a closer look at underutilized space you already have. Finishing an attic or basement could give your family some much needed extra space, add value to your house, and could be less expensive to accomplish than many other significant home improvement projects.

ATTICS

An attic is typically known to house all those things we no longer remember having or seldom access. Unpacked boxes from that move five years ago, holiday decorations, vintage toys, and spiders – all preserved under a thick layer of dust. This underutilized space could be transformed into an extra bedroom, an organized storage area, or home office or studio, all while increasing the value of your home.

Not all attics are suitable to upgrade to a living space. Consulting with an architect or remodeling contractor will help determine the best approach. Building codes will dictate allowable ceiling height and overall square footage minimums, accessibility requirements, and weight load. If your attic isn’t quite up to snuff to meet code, some modifications can make a difference. Adding a dormer for extra space and light or beefing up the floor joists to accommodate extra weight load are potential options.

After evaluating the attic’s potential uses, deciding on a budget for finishing the attic will help determine which direction to go next. For the most value and cost-effective loft remodel with a mid-range budget, turn the space into a combination living space and storage area. Other uses for an attic space include converting it into an additional bedroom, play area, or bonus room. Installing a skylight or dormer with a window will help make the space larger and brighter. Ensure it is properly insulated for maximum comfort and efficiency during all seasons.

BASEMENTS

Basements often get a bad reputation. Hollywood portrays them as the dark, cold area of a house better deemed as the background of a horror movie than a livable space. Don’t let yourself be fooled. Basements, just like the attic, are typically another underdeveloped part of a house. Often this underutilized area can be finished to create an additional cozy living space in your home.

Like any remodel, having a budget and plan of how to design the space is essential. Obtaining an appraisal for the value of your basement is helpful to decide a design theme and how extensive to take the renovation. Ideally, you want to keep your budget between five and ten percent of your overall home’s value.

Due to a basements typical open floor plan, most are conducive to adding or removing extra walls. Make sure there is at least a 7-foot ceiling clearance and adequate windows or exits (for bedrooms). Unlike an attic space, which is typically more cramped with angled ceilings, the area in a basement is more versatile and usually more substantial. It can be transformed into a variety of uses such as an extra living room, storage space, or spare bedroom. Consult with a designer or remodeling contractor to help determine the best use of the space, and to ensure it meets code or can be modified to meet code.

Transforming the basement into another living space such as a home office or extra bedroom are some of the most common remodeling ideas. These multi-functional rooms are perfect for a growing family or home-based business. Perhaps a separate entertainment area is more on your agenda. The possibilities are endless from a media or game room, to a man cave, art studio, or whatever your heart desires!

Attics and basements have nearly endless potential, depending on how you wish to transform them. Breathing new life into these typically underused spaces can be more cost-effective than an addition and add overall value to your existing home. Make sure you work with a reputable designer or remodeling contractor to ensure your upgrades comply with local building codes and best suit your needs and desires.

Let us help you find a home improvement professional that can help make all your attic and basement finishing dreams come true!

If you need assistance with any of these projects or upgrades, we can connect you with the appropriate service professionals for your specific needs. Just let us know how we can help by completing our online work request today!

Cari

Cari Barron, owner and founder of Contractor Hotline, purchased a home in need of various repairs in 2002. The process to find a quality home remodeling contractor proved to be a complex challenge. The first-hand experience was the inspiration behind founding Contractor Hotline in 2006. Connect with her on Google+

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